I must have been distracted with less important matters last month because I completely missed the voting for the the Greatest American. It was only by reading the weekly column in one of the local newspapers where I spent my youth (notice that I didn't say grew up) written by a former student of mine that I learned that Ronald Reagan is our Greatest American. Imagine my surprise.
Curious as to how this came to be I googled around and learned the names of the nominees, the voting process, and the results. It seems that the Discovery Channel - with some help from AOL - and Matt Lauer of NBC entertainment were involved. Also implicated were several million internet voters who placed Mr. Reagan ahead of Abraham Lincoln (2), Martin Luther King, Jr. (3), George Washington (4), and Benjamin Franklin (5).
Not faring as well among the list of 100 nominees were Donald Trump, Dr. Phil, Michael Moore, Rush Limbaugh, Madonna, Michael Jackson, Hugh Heffner, Bret Favre (sorry Ms. M), Tom Cruise, and North Carolina's own John Edwards and Michael Jordan. Worthy nominees for sure, but all failed to make the top quartile. I was disappointed that Richard Petty was not nominated; but I guess you have to draw the line somewhere. Elvis (8) did make the top 10, just a notch ahead of Oprah (9), so I felt better.
Not wanting to choose between laughter and tears I googled again and found that the BBC had conducted a similar poll with about the same level of validity. I wonder who this polls' winner would have voted for? He would have received mine.